Athiti Dev(il)obhava

Athithi devo bhava…


What about the responsibility of tourists, nobody talks about that, not even the effervescent travel bloggers.

Yesterday we went Basilica Bon Jesus at Old Goa, the place was swarming with tourists.

The guidelines to tourists are placed all over the Basilica, “Do not photograph people” being the most prominent one. yet the tourists, were blatantly clicking pictures of themselves, using selfie sticks. When the security personal objected, they would steal the selfie and gloat about it.

There was one particular crowd standing right in front of the board that said do not click people and went trigger happy. So Mr.Aamir Khan do you have something to tell the tourists? About responsible behaviour?  This is just some stuff to help you with the script.

Tourism  no doubt plays an important role in the economy of Goa, that does not mean that tourists are “Devo” or gods, they people we welcome into our homes, it is an interaction of mutual respect, there are certain norms to be followed.

There is a concept called responsible tourism, this was defined in AITR’s 2005 resolution it goes like this == responsible tourism complies with the principles of social and economic justices and exerts full respect towards the environment and its cultures. It recognizes the centrality of the local host community and its right to act a s a protagonist in developing a sustainable and responsible tourism. Responsible tourism actuates to foster a positive interaction between the tourist industry, local community and the travellers.

Here is what probably most local host communities look to

To minimize environmental damage caused by the carelessness of the tourist and growing destruction to environment corresponding to the growing tourist influx.

To give the local population a central role in the tourist development of their own territory.  That the involvement of the local community through a participatory democracy and in decision making process is essential for sustainable touristic development.

To respect the local culture by including its essence in the overall touristic experience by focusing on and creating awareness of the local culture , its traditions, the lifestyle, the gastronomy, the handicrafts etc.

Maybe next time any of you decide to travel to a terrain, you could keep an open mind, particularly when you come to Goa, yes we are different from rest of India, but we are not very different from the west coast culture.

Respect human rights particularly privacy and decorum in public places.

Help to preserve the natural environment that you have come to see, there are wildlife and habitats that need to be safe guarded.

Each place has its own cultural resources that are the document of the history of the people, please respect it, selfie in a Basilica, or loud hooting is Salarjung Museum is disrespectful.

When you buy something you do contribute to the economic and social development of the place, try to see that you can pick something that is truly local.

In your Google search do look at the cultural expectation at a place, like not wearing run down shorts into a temple or church, not clicking pictures within the prayer houses,  not scratching the edifices, along the way.

These are just small gestures that reflects you culture and your upbringing to the host community. It is about your dignity…

I hope soon the Basilica will come with deposit your mobiles rule like the Thirupathi Temple.

At the Museum.

DSC_0062Somewhere the definition  of public spaces and private seems does not seem exist in our culture.

I am not talking about the shomeall social network nurtured culture. I am talking of people who in their 50’s too.

Just look at our temples, we are so noisy so crude and me first. we don’t even attempt at being civil.

A month ago my husband I were at the Salar Jung Museum at Hyderabad. The peaceful ambience suddenly disturbed by a bunch of teenagers, absolutely loud, foul mouthed, jumping the  separators to click photographs. They definitely have not been taught how to behave in these spaces.

The poor caretaker went berserk at the Kittur museum stopping people from clicking pictures, he kept telling them that the flashes damaged the exhibits, the visitors either ignored him, or bullied him or blatantly laughed at him for they thought they were cats whiskers by breaking rules.

Loud rowdy behaviour comes when the viewer is bored. So if  you don’t like a museum or an exhibition do not go there. sit out at the cafeteria and flirt with guard, but don’t be a nuisance to people who enjoying themselves.

is it so difficult to maintain decorum? Lets us what is do able—

  • Do not touch the exhibits.
  • Keep your voice down.
  • Do not photograph, if you have to do not use a flash. These exhibits are ancient and light sensitive.
  • One major nuisance are the people who pose in front of the exhibits blocking the view of other viewers.
  • The velvet ropes are to keep us back, lets not jump it.
  • While reading the Plaques, reading it softly without blocking others view.
  • Not snacking or smoking within the museum premises.

Museums in uncle Sam’s land apparently have started handing out museum decorum handouts before people enter the museum. Maybe we should do the same.

the first day of spring.

When winsome westerly winds
caress comely creeping cloves
As bumblebees’ buzz-buzzing and cuckoos’ coo-cooing
resound in huts, in coves, in groves,
In springtime, the sensual season so langorously
long for forlorn lovers,
Krishna strays and plays, my friend,
dancing with young girls.
The poem by the Sanskrit poet Jayadeva, describes Krishna in spring. Spring the king of all seasons, the companion of the God of Love.
Between 20th of March and 22nd of March is the Vernal equinox the official first day of spring. Spring is the nature’s way of saying “lets party!”
Spring represents renewal, rebirth, regrowth, in India Vasantotsav is a much enjoyed festival with colours and frolic. Temperatures between 25-30 degrees. It is winter in the shade and summer in the sunshine. A season of kites and marriages.
Like Virgil.A.Kraft noted”spring shows what god can do with a drab dirty world.”